On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Running makes me hot: this is why I'm hot

I'm hot 'cause I'm fly; you ain't 'cause you not.

In my neighborhood, it's a regular occurrence that men will sometimes, well, notice me as I run.

It ranges from flattering comments of admiration - which I don't mind - to disturbingly lechy stares.

I know I'm not alone in experiencing this.  And I'm not saying this to be at all boastful.  Trust me, I would not leer at me on the street when there are so many more fly girls out in my 'hood.  But I have some questions about this.

First of all, why me?  Is it just because I'm there, or because I'm typically in a short skirt and moving?

And second of all, what do they expect will happen?  Do they mean it just as a one-off compliment, or is there any hope that I'll be like, "Hm, now that you've leered, I am kind of in the mood..."?  Is this a call to action, or is it just put out there with no hope of follow-up?

Sadly I'm used to objectification.  The area of the Middle East where I lived, I stuck out like a sore thumb for my light skin and light hair.  A sore thumb, but also a hugely desirable, insanely attractive sore thumb.  Almost every time I left the house in my oh-so revealing t-shirts and capri pants (the ankle! what scandal!), I was subjected to any number of propositions and comments and gestures.  This drove some women absolutely crazy - it was sad to watch them buy baggier and baggier clothes and intentionally turn into frumpy, bland people to avoid the harassment.

I was on the other end of the spectrum.  I grew to love it.  Every time I left the house I was met with affirmation of my attractiveness.  Running in New York, particularly up in my neighborhood, is the closest I've come to that.  Often it's creepy attention, for sure, but when you get the perfect combination of running endorphins mixed with just the right flattering compliment, you can really feel like $1,000,000.

Am I alone here?  How do other people handle it?

1 comment:

  1. I had a very similar experience when I lived in Nicaragua. I would get cat-calls pretty much everyday. I was dressing modestly, so I just ignored them. I was always with a group, so I knew that no one would try anything. I think that most people just want a reaction.